5020 W. Ambrose Avenue 90027 - A. P. Carter Residence
5020 W. Ambrose Avenue 90027 Los Feliz USA
American Colonial Revival, Historic-Cultural Monument
Click here for Los Angeles Department of City Planning Recommendation Report, which has additional details on the property’s architectural and historic significance.
Statement of Significance:
5020 Ambrose Avenue, at the corner of Alexandria Ave., is significant as an Exemplar of the Period Revival work of Master Architect Dr. Kurt-Meyer Radon in the American Colonial Revival style with Palladian touches. The Architect: Dr. Kurt-Meyer Radon is a Recognized Master Architect.
The Colonial Revival single family residence with attached garage which graces the southeast corner of Ambrose and Alexandria avenues, with original address of 2030 Alexandria, later changed to 5020 Ambrose Avenue, was designed by architect Dr. Kurt Meyer-Radon in 1936. The home is an exemplar of Meyer-Radon’s period revival residential works.
Kurt Meyer-Radon was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1885. Lisa Radon, a granddaughter, wrote on the website askART that her grandfather earned a doctoral degree in architecture which lead to him being addressed as Herr Doktor in Germany and Doctor after he arrived in the United States, sometimes causing confusion among people who mistakenly viewed him as a medical doctor. Another grandchild, John Potter, wrote on the same website that Meyer-Radon led an architecture firm in Germany before and after WWI. He served on the Eastern Front during the War as a communications officer. He immigrated to the United States in 1923. Meyer-Radon and family made their home in Glendale, CA. A family friend said, “He played the violin like a gypsy.” He created many copperplate etchings from nature as well as architectural themes, both formal and fantastical. His artwork was influenced by his favorite artist Francesco Piranesi (1756–1810), an Italian engraver who was instructed in engraving and architecture by his famous father, Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
John Potter shared that during Meyer-Radon’s work with Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles which was founded in 1921, Mayer-Radon described himself as, “an architect of everything.” Among Allied Architect’s works are the current Los Angeles City Hall and the original Los Angeles County Hospital. The purpose of Allied Architects was to “advance the art of architecture and by professional cooperation and collaboration to secure for and provide municipal, county, state, and national governments and organizations formed for civic betterment, or mutual or business advancement with the highest and best expression of the profession of architecture at the least possible cost…” The AAALA did not accept or perform architectural services for private individuals or firms. Meyer-Radon wrote that he maintained friendships with Neutra, Schindler and Lloyd Wright. He is also known to have been an advisor to Julia Morgan on antiques acquisition for the Hearst Castle.
During the 1920s he and his brother Hans practiced architecture from their firm, Meyer & Radon Bros. The brothers created Chateau des Fleurs, a French Norman Revival Style apartment building at 6626 Franklin Avenue built in 1927. The building featured 50 single and double sound proof apartments; a roof top garden and adjoining children’s playground; the walls, ceiling and woodwork carry decorative motifs in oil paint; electric refrigerators and ranges are in all kitchens; different Norman inspired hardware is in each apartment. The Chateau des Fleurs is Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument 799.
It is unclear what ended the Meyer-Radon brothers partnership. In 1929 Meyer-Radon designed 13 two-story Spanish-Mediterranean Revival style single family residences in a development in Pasadena. Also in 1929, the architect designed the seven-story 58 unit Castles Argyle Arms Annex (apartments) at 1921 Argyle Ave in 1929 with the top floor as the home of the majority stock owner and his family, Dr. Alfred G. Castles. Meyer-Radon is honored by National Register status for the Sovereign Hotel, also erected in 1929 as an apartment hotel. The Sovereign, a five-story Spanish Colonial Revival building is the work of the Meyer-Radon brothers according to early press coverage, yet only Kurt received National Register credit for the Sovereign. Once again, no reason could be found. Meyer-Radon designed the Mediterranean Revival residence at 121 S. Hudson St. in Los Angeles in 1930. In 1931 he designed a corner-featured eight-unit apartment building at 201 Poinsettia Place and West 2nd Street in Mediterranean Revival style. For Edmund J. Krause, at 3525 Griffith Park, he designed a stucco residence and garage. In 1937 he designed a two-story apartment building for Mary J. Oliver at 1331 N. Brand Blvd. His 1941 design for a 7-room Colonial home for $8,300 was featured in a photography spread in the Los Angeles Times on Feb 16, 1941, page G7. The home was of a single story with wood shingle roof, a living room with fireplace, dining room, den, kitchen, breakfast room, master bedroom with dressing alcove, a second bedroom, 2 bathrooms and a covered, large rear/side porch. The March 23, 1941, Los Angeles Times carried a photo spread featuring a modern Mediterranean 2-story home with attached garage, a shingled roof and a terrace on the second-level of the stuccoed home. The architect also designed in the Mid-Century Modern style, a single-family home erected in 1952 at 1641 Fernbrook Place in Glendale.
Kurt Meyer-Radon became a naturalized United States citizen April 13, 1934. His wife Paula and children Anna, John and Walter followed him. He registered for the United States World War II draft at age 57. He died in Santa Barbara, California, on September 20, 1962, at age 77.
The A. P. Carter Residence, is an American Colonial Revival home with attached garage is an exemplar of the single family residential revival design work of architect Dr. Kurt Meyer & Radon.
A. Pelham Carter, not a historic personage, but a person of interest, as well as important events in the main currents of national, state or local history. While the original owner of the residence was A. P. Carter aka A. Pelham Carter who was born at Era, Texas, a farming community north of Dallas/Fort Worth on February 2, 1894, does not rise to the level of historic personage, the information included about owner Carter is simply to add to the understanding of the time and of the residence. It is uncertain when Carter relocated to Los Angeles. As a Realtor, he had the connections to commission Dr. Kurt Meyer – Radon, a master architect, to design a home for his family.
A story was discovered in the Los Angeles Times about the Realtor A. P. Carter. Quite active in the 1920s, A. P. Carter, in 1927 took a female friend from the apartment building in which the two resided, out for a moonlight ride. He told her about an easy money producing scheme; a real estate investment. After a few more moonlight rides she succumbed, investing her life savings of $6,000 in a development known as Modjeska Acres in Lynwood, CA. Carter told her that he could buy it at, “a reduced price,” adding that he, “would let her in on the deal.” Suddenly, Carter became, “less friendly and later married another.” She found out that the lots had been purchased by him for a mere $2,630, swindling her out of more than $3,000. Carter was charged with obtaining money by false pretenses by the Municipal Court judge, who fixed bond at $5,000. It seems the remainder of his real estate deals were less shady, which is of interest since 1927 was near the height of the real estate market and pre-crash. However, he retained his license and built a financially successful career before and during the Depression which allowed him to commission Meyer-Radon to design the residence at 2030 Alexandria Ave., postal address later changed 5020 Ambrose Ave., toward the end of the Great Depression in 1936.
Edna Carter, A. Phelam’s wife, was active in many women’s organizations. Mr. Carter lived to be 87 years of age, dying Jan 28, 1981. Carter is representative of the real estate industry in the boom times of the 1920s. The fact that he was able to commission a 4,402 sq. ft. house as the city was emerging from the Depression speaks to his success as a Realtor, both before and more importantly, during the Depression.
Several important historic events took place in Los Feliz during the Depression which affected all who lived there, and just as importantly, in the Los Angeles Metro and beyond. The Greek Theatre at Griffith Park was opened on September 25, 1930, as an additional entertainment venue in the open air, beneath the stars; John Marshall High school opened in 1931 thus giving Los Feliz its own high school to serve its burgeoning population; the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium gave the public its first public planetarium experience on May 14, 1935, as well as stellar views of Los Angeles, the surrounding area plus the Pacific Ocean, and the completion fulfilled one of Col. Griffith’s great dreams. The Los Angeles Zoo, which had not had a great reputation, was improved by the toilers of the Federal Works Project and many improvements were made to Griffith Park by the same program. The Federal Works Project provided jobs for many who had previously lost them, thus providing a small stipend that allowed them to enjoy life once more, albeit at a minimal level, most likely spending a few cents as they left Los Feliz for the day, to return for another. Many of the above institutions and improvements thereunto granted the citizens of the region a chance to share these venues for free or at a lesser rate, adding some hope and a bit of joy during the Depression years. Therefore, the aforementioned were important events during the Depression with a lasting affect both for Los Feliz and the Los Angeles Metro.
The A. P. Carter Residence: An American Colonial Revival Residence with Palladian touches which embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural-type specimen, inherently valuable for the study of a period, style, or method of construction. Colonial Revival style buildings gained popularity beyond the east coast of America as a result of their inclusion in the Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893. Their popularity was bolstered by the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s and 1930s which furthered interest in the architecture of eighteenth century America. They became more popular by the publication of colonial architecture in books and magazines making the styles widely accessible to audiences throughout the nation. (Source: Los Angeles Department of City Planning Recommendation Report)
5020 Ambrose Avenue (Rents for $200): 1) Alice Laganas, head of household; white married female 38 years of age; born in New Hampshire; not working. 2) Mary Laganas, daughter; white female 9 years of age; born in Massachusetts; in school. 3) Alicia Laganas, daughter; white female 7 years of age; born in Massachusetts; in school. 4) Fred Staunton, butler; white widower 58 years of age; born in Canada; butler and chauffeur in a private home; earns $1,000. (ED 60-82; Page 3A; Lines 12-15).
Type: American Colonial Revival Sold
Area: 3,558 sqft
Lot Size: 8,360 sqft
Year Built: 1936